Austerity seems to be the word of the year. Italian and Greek citizens screeching because of new austerity measures instituted by their governments, cuts in their government benefits. Other European countries experiencing the same thing. I'm reminded of financial adviser, radio host and Fox Business Channel's Dave Ramsey who tells those in financial trouble to live on 'beans and rice - rice and beans' until they get their debt paid. Austerity by governments is a policy of deficit-cutting, lower spending, and a reduction in the amount of benefits and public services provided. Key word: benefits.
Here in the United States individuals who have no idea what real austerity is gather to destroy property, scare children, block corporations from doing business, stopping cargo at ports from reaching destinations, and keeping those with jobs from reaching their places of employment. These anarchists apparently aren't worried about their next meal, their bills, their shelter because someone is providing it for them.
In several instances businessmen went to the Occupy events offering jobs to the protesters. The response? Most were too busy playing anarchist to have any interest in actually getting a job. Beans and rice for these people? They have catered gourmet meals.
Dave Ramsey advises his callers who are in financial trouble to sell everything they can to bring make money, get a job, get a second job, a third job, deliver pizzas or newspapers, lift boxes at UPS; live on beans and rice; don't eat out; sell their expensive cars, buy a $2,000 clunker; no vacations. Beans and rice, rice and beans.
I'm reminded of the early years of the United States when those landing on our shores had nothing. Nothing. Those who were lucky enough to live through the long ocean voyage started from scratch, digging a meager life from nothing. How much could they bring on a small ship? Eventually they grew some beans and corn and were happy to have it.
Beans and rice, or rather beans and cornmeal, were the only staples of pioneers in covered wagons traveling West in hopes of a better life. If lucky they might have some dried meat, perhaps a live chicken to lay some eggs (and eventually become a rare chicken dinner). No fresh fruits, no vegetables, no fresh meat unless they were lucky enough to kill something along the way. How much could they haul in a covered wagon, which was home for the family, their few possessions, weapons, tools, and a little food? Beans and cornmeal.
Austerity? The Occupy crowd has no idea. Let them talk to their grandparents who lived through our various wars - the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the great depression where a cup of soup and a crust of bread from a food line might be all they had to survive for a day. Were it not for personal vegetable gardens, growing and preserving that food, many more would have died of starvation or disease.
Notice the above image of a breadline in New York during the depression. Do a search for images and notice the organization of those truly in need of food and jobs and look at the desparation in the faces. Compare that to the spoiled brats of Occupy today.
Heaven forbid the protesters of today hear stories about being happy to have a stale biscuit for lunch, one pair of shoes (too big or too small) with a hole in them, one dress or pair of pants, walking three miles uphill in the show to school. Beans and anything they could get.
There are those in this country who are having a terrible time financially and for them there are many programs to help. But poverty today does not have the same meaning as real poverty in American history. The so-called poor today have all the modern conveniences. They may not be paying all their bills, but they have computers, cellphones, video games, TV, cable, ... and are not living on just beans and rice but frequenting restaurants and fast food joints, many times compliments of the government and food stamps. (click image to enlarge)
For decades, the U.S. Census Bureau has reported that over 30 million Americans were living in “poverty,” but the bureau’s definition of poverty differs widely from that held by most Americans. In fact, other government surveys show that most of the persons whom the government defines as “in poverty” are not poor in any ordinary sense of the term. The overwhelming majority of the poor have air conditioning, cable TV, and a host of other modern amenities. They are well housed, have an adequate and reasonably steady supply of food, and have met their other basic needs, including medical care. Some poor Americans do experience significant hardships, including temporary food shortages or inadequate housing, but these individuals are a minority within the overall poverty population. (The Heritage Foundation)
With Christmas just around the corner, I'm reminded of the old story of the wife who sold her hair to buy a Christmas present for her husband -- a chain for her husband's prized possession a gold watch. She had no idea her husband had sold his gold watch to buy her a set of tortoise shell combs for her prized long hair. A gift was a sacrifice and I doubt many today can grasp that idea.
I wonder what the next few generations will think of the situation way back in 2011.
If the anarchists of the Occupy movement were truly poor, were truly in need of a job, were truly serious about being good citizens and creating stable homes, they wouldn't be spending week after week dirtying up city parks, creating trash, destroying property, impeding commerce and taking up valuable police hours.
The beans and rice crowd? Oh please! They have no idea.